I found this in my notes, without an indication of what article I am rebutting.

This author, who for some reason has decided to name nameless, relies on two subjective claims: that "being human does not equal being a human person," and that a woman's "autonomy over her body" gives her the right to terminate any life growing within that body.

At first she does not offer a definition of "personhood." In the second argument, she finally defines "personhood" as having "the capacity for higher brain function (not complete brain maturity, but the capacity for some semblance of higher function)." This is the Terri Schiavo argument: Terri's brain had lost its capacity for higher function, therefore she was no longer a person and should have been killed.

Bekah Ferguson made a mistake in using the presence of consciousness and higher brain function as the standard of "personhood." That left the door open for this author to point the subjectivity of that standard, and to focus on the potential for consciousness and higher brain function. But the author's standard is just as subjective. Development of the fetus and its brain function is not a series of discrete steps, but a continual process. Any attempt to put bookmarks in that process is subjective.

The "personhood" argument is morally lacking to begin with. Using this logic, all someone has to do is claim that a particular human being lacks "personhood," and then they can justify anything they do to those human beings. This is what Hitler did with the Jews and is the essence of the justification for race-based slavery. Only an objective standard of personhood — that all human beings are equal in personhood and thus equal in rights — can we prevent this sort of reasoning.

The author suggest that the unborn child has value only if the mother gives the child that value. She offers the "autonomy" argument as justification. The author conveniently ignores the fact that she at one time lacked the very autonomy that she considers essential for a right to life, and her mother had the same jurisdiction over her that she is claiming. If her mother were to tell her, "I should have aborted you when I had the chance," would she respond with "Yes, you should have"? In order for her to be consistent with her argument, that is the only reasonable answer. For her to object to the notion is to admit that her life had value even during the period when she denies that it had value.

The author's arguments reek of the arrogance and selfishness that is typical of the "pro-choice" proponent. It's all about her body, her rights, not the other life in the picture. She claims that she is OK with removing a conceptus if the means are available to keep it alive, yet immediately after states that the conceptus is not a person. This piece isn't really about about "personhood" or any logical argument about the morality of abortion, but rather her own desire to dictate the terms of the debate.